On December 9, 2015 the Smithtown Fire Department responded to a cardiac arrest at Gold’s Gym at 100 Landing Avenue. Jeff Press, a Hauppauge resident who was working out, suffered a cardiac arrest in the weight area of the gym. Fortunately, Smithtown Fire Department Captain Joe Palazzo along with Lieutenant Andrew Kelly were working out in the gym at the same time.
Palazzo quickly transmitted an alarm to the Department for EMS and fire response to the scene.
While waiting for units to arrive, a team comprised of emergency personnel who fortunately were all working out at the time, assisted in CPR. Help was rendered by Palazzo, Kelly, Kings Park firefighters Michael Byrne and Robert Becker, as well as a North Shore LIJ Hospital Paramedic Gary Ritter.
Palazzo raced to retrieve Gold’s AED unit. When the pads were administered to Jeff Press, the AED failed to function properly. The team overcame the problem and continued to administer CPR.
Also arriving on the scene rapidly to assist with CPR was Suffolk County Police Officer Keith Weinberg. Palazzo and Weinberg raced to his sector car to retrieve his Police AED unit and put it to work on Press.
While CPR and AED analysis was underway, in rapid succession, Smithtown Fire District and Department EMS personnel arrived on the scene to administer Advance Life Support and prepare Press for an ambulance ride to St. Catherine of Siena Hospital.
As a result of their quick thinking, rapid response and determination to save Press’s life, those involved were recommended for either Life Saving Awards or Unit EMS Citations.
Presented with Life Saving Awards were Captain Joseph Palazzo SFD, Lieutenant Andrew Kelly SFD, Paramedic Joseph Lesnick SFD, Paramedic Sean Brewer, Smithtown Fire District, EMT Michael Byrne, KPFD, Firefighter Robert Becker, KPFD, Paramedic Gary Ritter, NSLIJ, and Police Officer Keith Weinberg.
Later members to the scene were awarded Unit Citations.
Jeff Press survived and was released from St. Catherine on December 17, 2015.
On Monday, February 9, Press, along with his family and many friends visited the Smithtown Fire Department during its monthly meeting to pay special tribute to those who assisted in saving his life.
The Press Family presented tokens of appreciation and a special cake for the Department.
Smithtown Fire Fighters and EMS personnel are members of the community and prepared to render assistance to those in need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In this instance, Department members of both the Smithtown and Kings Park Fire Departments were ready, out of uniform, to assist a fellow member of the community.